“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”
— Bernard Williams
Amid the worst natural disaster in US history, the Fulshear women, staff, therapists, transition specialists, and administrators have displayed incredible levels of human spirit. The past week has been challenging and empowering. We are proud of our clients, in awe of our employees, and grateful for the love and support we have received.
During the storm
As the storm came in last Friday night, the women at the ranch were moved to the admin and Sunroom building where they were on higher ground and had access to everything they needed. There was some water buildup around the cottages, but each cottage is elevated and they did not flood. The ranch was not in an evacuation zone and the girls were safe with ample food and supplies.
The women and staff were impressive. Roads were unsafe throughout the city and staff were unable to come in for their shifts. Our Friday residential staff stayed with the girls for days and ensured their needs were met. During the storm, the women went a little “stir crazy” but morale was high. Staff reported that it was an incredible bonding experience.
The barn became its own island and the horses stayed high and dry. The barn managers continued to take excellent care of the horses and made sure they were calm and comfortable during the storm.
The women in the apartments were able to stay in their homes safe and sound. During downpours of rain the apartment parking lot would flood, but drained quickly when the rain lightened. The women were at times bored, but also enjoyed the down time and used it to bond with their communities. They were helpful and supportive to one another. They took turns cooking for each other and watching movies to pass the time. Like the women in the ranch, they were safe with plenty of food, water, and supplies.
After the storm
While the roads were unsafe, programming was paused to protect our employees. As the rain has now stopped, the women from both the ranch and the apartments have been volunteering alongside our staff, therapists, and transition specialists. They are pouring their hearts into the rescue work they’ve been doing at shelters and donation centers. For the past four days, the Fulshear women have been providing comfort and safety to families who have lost everything in the storm. It has been a moving and sobering experience for all of us. Witnessing the flood damage near the Brazos River firsthand was a particularly powerful event. The women have expressed a desire and commitment to continue volunteering and assisting those in need.
We feel incredibly fortunate that both the ranch and the apartment locations were largely undamaged in the storm. The ranch did incur minor roof damage. Regardless, the women at the ranch have been able to move back into their cottages.
In spite of continued closures and abnormalities throughout our community, the women continue to be safe with their needs met. We express our tremendous gratitude for the many Fulshear employees who have worked tirelessly to provide safety and comfort for our clients. Our staff made sacrifices to be away from their families and friends during this tragedy to be with the women. Aaron Duke and Mike Otufangavalu made two trips through the storm to drop off supplies at the ranch and the apartments. Our nurse, Erica Sitka and our executive director, Nikki Preece, have worked night and day to ensure medication needs are being met. Our normal pharmacy has been unable to delivery to us. Nikki and Erica worked with our InnerChange office and many others to find a pharmacy that would guarantee delivery. They found a pharmacy that would deliver to College Station, and Allyson Smith made the road trip to pick them up. We had so many people ready and willing to drive 20 hours or more to bring us medication if it came to it. We are all experiencing heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from our families, colleagues, and the community—both national and international—through this difficult experience.
Unfortunately, many of our staff and their families have experienced losses associated with Hurricane Harvey. A number have been displaced and lost everything, while many others have significant damage. We are immensely grateful for the food, water, clothing, blankets, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products we have received. Now that the immediate needs of our employees are met, we recognize that they will need monetary donations to begin rebuilding.
We are determined to take care of our Fulshear family. To do so, we have set up a GoFundMe account to support our employees. If you would like to make a donation, please do so by clicking here. We guarantee that 100% of the money raised will go to those in need.